World’s best ads ever #38: Van Damme-Volvo combo is a runway success with ‘Epic Split’
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Fans of Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme were in for a treat during this Volvo commercial promoting its line of trucks.
Released in 2013, and officially known as ‘The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (Live Test)’, the 75-second commercial was the sixth from its ‘Live Tests’ advertising campaign. The film features Van Damme performing the splits between two moving trucks as Enya’s Only Time dramatically plays in the background.
Directed by Andreas Nilsson, the project planning took around five months and was filmed on the runway of Ciudad Real International Airport in Spain.
Rehearsals for the stunt took around three days and it has been noted that Van Damme recorded his gymnastics in a single take. Don’t worry, he was protected by a hidden safety harness and wire. Both trucks were driving in reverse at around 16mph) throughout the take.
To date, the YouTube post has had more than 114m million hits and a week after its release Enya’s track re-entered the Billboard Top 100 13 years after its original release.
The Forsman & Bodenfors commercial has gone on to win the Best in Show award from The One Club, a Black Pencil award from the Design and Art Direction design awards in 2014, Film Grand Prix at the Eurobest awards in Helsinki, Finland, and the prize for Creative Effectiveness at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
It has been noted that by the end of 2014 the overall campaign was estimated to have cost $3m–$4m to produce, but generated $170m in revenue for Volvo.